BJ Medical College makes call for autonomy
Pune: Sassoon General Hospital which is attached to the state-run Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Medical College (BJMC) has submitted a request for autonomous status to the Medical Education Ministry. If conceded to, it will become the Ist government run autonomous healthcare facility in the state. This is the 2nd attempt being made by the hospital, with the earlier one having been discarded.
The autonomy when granted will give the hospital authorities the freedom to upgrade both the medical college and the attached hospital. It will also result in it being able to introduce new courses, take independent financial and admission related decisions, and improve patient care.
TOI reports that the ministry is positive towards the idea of granting autonomy to the college keeping in mind its past efforts towards developmental growth by approaching various corporates for CSR funds.
A senior official from the medical education ministry, preferring to remain anonymous, said, "The state government is thinking about granting autonomous status to at least one state-run medical college-attached hospital in a metro city. Therefore, as part of this initiative, the ministry has asked authorities at the B J Medical College to submit a proposal for consideration."
Confirming the above, Senior Spine Surgeon, Ajay Chandanwale, who is also the Dean, BJMC-attached Sassoon General hospital, told the TOI,"We had submitted the proposal for autonomy two days ago. If we get autonomy, BJMC-Sassoon hospital will be the first state-run institute to get the autonomous status in Maharashtra."
"The autonomy will, most importantly, defuse the 'transfer phobia' among employees. Moreover, administration control will make everyone accountable towards their duties, bolster research, and it will be possible to develop the institute as a centre of excellence based on the local needs. Enhanced patient-care and better medical research will be the two important objectives," Chandanwale added.
With a 200 student strength admitted every year for an MBBS course, BJMC has more than 159 postgraduate students and an annual out-patient/in-patient turnover of 8 lakh in the affiliated 1,296-bed Sassoon General hospital. There are about 1,500 students present at a given time, in the college.
The institute has the potential of outstanding contribution in the field of educating physicians and medical scientists, application of sophisticated medical technology to patient care, and biomedical research. Its autonomous status in the future would help it render exceptional patient care services to the poor, claim hospital authorities.
However, autonomous status, in this case, will have to go hand in hand with management and administrative changes implemented as in accordance with guidelines issued by the state government.
"Accordingly, a Board of Governors should be appointed once a society is constituted for the institute. The tenure of the members appointed to the Board of Governors will be as per the norms. The Board of Governors, its powers and duties are already well laid down," a senior official DMER told TOI
"This doesn't mean that the colleges will stop receiving annual financial allocations from the state government. The state government will continue to support these institutes financially; the hospitals attached to these colleges cater to a large number of patients from the economically weaker sections of society, and it is the state's responsibility to extend medical care to such patients.
Therefore, the autonomous status will not result in an undue hike in tuition fees or charges for medical services. The move will not affect patients and students," said another DMER official.